A new year brings about an opportunity to evaluate our lives and set new goals for ourselves. Some resolutions come to mind easily, such as losing weight or cleaning out closets. Being able to wear skinny jeans seems so superficial, though. As I listen to people list their resolutions, I wonder just how much time we actually spend evaluating our lives in ways that help us to make meaningful changes in ourselves. Sometimes we’re so busy living life that we don’t take the time to think about how we’re living it. The first chapter of “A Purpose Driven Life” starts with the statement, “It’s not all about you”. It is true that life seems so much more fulfilling when we strive to serve others before we satisfy ourselves. I found an article that I thought was a great way of prompting people to begin a self evaluation that focuses on helping others. It’s written by Jill Geisler of the highly respected Poynter Institute for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida. Here are the questions she posed during a presentation in Milwaukee on getting the most out of life:
1.) Who have you helped lately, with nothing in it for you but the joy of seeing others succeed?
2.) What have you cared about so much that you would put it in writing? A sincere thanks? A love note? Praise for a job well done? If anyone wrote you a “praise note” during your career, you probably still have it. They are that meaningful.
3.) What tradition have you carried on -- or started?
4.) Which of your assumptions have you challenged lately? If you aren't challenging your assumptions, can you really say you are learning? If you aren't challenging your assumptions, can you really say you are doing your best to resolve conflicts in your life?
5.) How did you help someone have a great day at work or home? Do you know what their "great day" would be?
6.) Who would say you've really listened to them lately? Really listened?
7. What risk have you taken recently?
8.) What connections have you made or renewed?
9.) What have you done for fun lately?
Honestly answering these questions left me feeling guilty and somewhat ashamed of my stubbornness and procrastination. I will compose my new list of goals while working my way into skinny jeans on the treadmill this afternoon.
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